The Habsburg Sisters, Part I: Eleonore von Habsburg, Queen Consort of Portugal and France

by Heather R. Darsie Most people interested in Tudor history are familiar with names like Charles V, Francis I, or even Christina of Denmark. Charles’ mother Juana of Castile might sound familiar. But what of Juana’s four daughters, Charles V’s sisters? Who were they? Why were they important? How did they fulfill the goals of Charles and his brother Ferdinand in the early 16th century? This article will provide … Continue reading The Habsburg Sisters, Part I: Eleonore von Habsburg, Queen Consort of Portugal and France

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Arthur Plantagenet, Viscount Lisle

by Heather R. Darsie Arthur Plantagenet was born in the late 1460’s in English-held Calais. He was the illegitimate son of King Edward IV o England. His mother’s identity is unknown. Up until Edward IV’s death in 1483, Arthur was raised at court. It is not known how his teenage years were spent after Edward’s death and during the reigns of Richard III or Henry … Continue reading Arthur Plantagenet, Viscount Lisle

The First Cracks in Anna of Cleves’ Marriage to Henry VIII

By late February 1540, it was already obvious to Henry VIII that the political situation between Anna of Cleves brother, the young Duke Wilhelm, and Holy Roman Emperor Charles V was serious. Most members of Anna’s German party who came with her across Imperial and French territory to England had left for the United Duchies of Juelich-Cleves-Berg. Henry faced the very real concern that his … Continue reading The First Cracks in Anna of Cleves’ Marriage to Henry VIII

1519: A Tudor Year in Review

by Heather R. Darsie The year 1519 was a year of massive changes, important births, and important deaths in Western Europe. Some of these impacted Henry VIII’s reign, whilst others did not come meaningfully into play until the reigns of Henry’s daughters. Henry VIII turned 28 years old in 1519, and was still young-minded. Births and Deaths Maximilian I von Habsburg, Holy Roman Emperor, died … Continue reading 1519: A Tudor Year in Review

The Increasing Horrors of War in 16th Century Western Europe

by Heather R. Darsie The 16th century saw rapid changes in military capabilities. The medieval knight and a knight’s form of armor and fighting reached peak efficiency by around 1450. After 1450, advances in military science made armor more and more vulnerable. The advent of pike attacks and guns made armor almost ineffective, and the flat walls of many fortifications made excellent targets for canon … Continue reading The Increasing Horrors of War in 16th Century Western Europe

Jeanne d’Albret

by Heather R. Darsie Please note that this article first appeared here. Jeanne d’Albret was born on 16 November 1528 to Marguerite d’Angoulême and Henri II of Navarre at the Parisian Saint Germain-en-Laye palace. Henri was Marguerite’s second husband. Marguerite had two children with Henri, but only Jeanne survived. Jeanne was the niece of the French king, Francois I, who dearly loved his elder sister Marguerite. … Continue reading Jeanne d’Albret

The White Rose

by Heather R. Darsie The other day I was looking for anything interesting which might have happened during the reign of Henry VIII to mark the first day of summer. I tripped across a note about a “Blanche Rose,” stating, “Receipt from Jacques de Eesbeke, messenger of the King Catholic, for 60 gold florins paid him by Th. Spinelly for two journeys into Metz, in … Continue reading The White Rose

Anna of Cleves Learns her Marriage is Annulled

by Heather R. Darsie On 9 July 1540 while she was at Richmond, Anna was told that her marriage to Henry VIII was unlawful. Her marriage annulled, Anna was no longer Queen Consort of England. “Anna reportedly wailed and screamed when Henry’s representatives came to deliver the news of the annulment. A few days before, Henry covered his tracks by ordering…[for] ‘counsel learned in those … Continue reading Anna of Cleves Learns her Marriage is Annulled

Tudor Speeches: My New Podcast!

by Heather R. Darsie Greetings, Dear Reader! I am pleased to announce that I launched a podcast over on Patreon called Tudor Speeches!  I hope to post the first podcast this weekend. I will provide historical background for speeches and letters from the Tudor time period. I think hearing a speech or letter can impact the beholder differently than just reading it. Each patron will be … Continue reading Tudor Speeches: My New Podcast!

The Powerful African Songhai Empire during the Reign of Henry VIII of England

by Heather R. Darsie Personal note: This summer I am learning more about African history during the 16th century.  The Songhai Empire existed in Western Africa in the late 15th to early 16th century. With a healthy grasp on trade, the Songhai Empire used cowrie shells and plain gold coins as local currency, and salt as international currency. The Askia Dynasty ruled the Songhai Empire … Continue reading The Powerful African Songhai Empire during the Reign of Henry VIII of England